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134 Tons Up In Smoke

Not to turn SwiftEconomics into pot central, but more news has broke in the marijuana world. In our continuing coverage of Proposition 19 in California, the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannibis Act, it is our duty to relay the Tijuana tomfoolery of last week. The Mexican army seized 134 tons of marijuana in Tijuana on Wednesday. The Baja California officials proceeded to pile up the cannabis and torch it.

“Think of all the people who won’t be able to smoke this dope,” soldier Noe Lenin Rubio Torres said at the military’s formal burning ceremony. Fellow soldier Lucio Rangel added, “Only the little angels in heaven are going to get stoned tonight.”


Now, let’s put 134 tons of marijuana in perspective. There are 2,000 pounds in a ton and 16 ounces in a pound. At a low price of $100, the squandered product could be valued at $428 million!

Just think what a waste this whole thing was. If Governor Schwarzenegger would have offered to take the entire 134 tons off the Mexican’s hands, then packaged it, he could have helped his budget situation and made a large group of the people in California quite happy at the same time. $428 million could have been a much needed shot in the arm. He also could have offered the Mexican government, say, $35 an ounce, then flipped the product to Californians for $100 an ounce, making people on both sides of the border better off.

Instead, he let it all go up in smoke–not exactly environmentally friendly. If economics is the distribution of scarce resources, last Wednesday was a sad day.

I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have been downwind of that fire?


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